2017 was a banner year for the advancement of knife freedom. Knife Rights was leading the way sponsoring and helping pass legislation in several states, engaging in litigation New York where legislative action has been thwarted by Governor Cuomos veto, and working on the Federal level to try to pass the Knife Owner Protection Act – which for the first time contains language repealing the Federal Switchblade Act. They just released their annual report, as well as a touching story which explains why it is they do what they do.
Year’s end is a time to look back at what was accomplished and forward to the possibilities ahead. With your support we had a record-setting year. We saw six bills enacted this year that provided greater freedom for knife owners. The total now stands at 28 bills enacted in 20 states in the past 8 years. Knife Rights really is rewriting knife law in America!™
This unprecedented record of knife ban repeals would not have been possible without your support. Nor would our Knife Owners’ Protection Act (H.R.84) including repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act be progressing in Congress. And, neither would our litigation efforts, including our Federal civil rights lawsuit against New York City over their persecution of knife owners. No matter how tight we pinch pennies, it still takes significant sums of money to do all this.
We’ve already started on next year’s efforts and we meed your support to set us up for success next year so we can continue to win.
Year in Review
Here’s what was accomplished this year with your support:
Michigan and Colorado repealed their switchblade (automatic knife) bans completely this year. In Illinois it is now legal to possess and carry, open or concealed, a switchblade as long as you possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card (allowing purchase of firearms and ammunition). The new law also allows for manufacture and sale of automatics by those not holding a FOID card. With 2.1 million FOID card holders, that’s a big improvement. And, getting a FOID card is pretty simple and costs just $10. Even minors can get a FOID card. However, still plenty of work to do in these states.
In Georgia the legal carry length for those without a concealed carry license increased from five inches to twelve inches. Getting rid of the carry length restriction entirely is complicated by the way in which a knife is defined in Georgia statutes. Our draft of that bill ran 32 pages. So, we’re happy to at least make it more reasonable than it was. Having previously passed knife law preemption in Georgia, that is now the law throughout the state.
Montana removed the prohibition against concealed carry without a CCW of “a knife with blade 4 or more inches in length” as well as Dirks, Daggers, Sword Canes, razors, and “knuckles.” The latter allows concealed carry of knives that incorporate “knuckles” as part of the handle.
Texas was a huge victory this year, truly against all odds. Our bill to eliminate all the knives illegal to carry in Texas statute, including Bowie Knives and those over 5.5 inches in length, was progressing when a fatal stabbing occurred just blocks from the statehouse using a knife described as a “large, Bowie-style hunting knife” over 5.5 inches long. With an extraordinary effort and the cooperation of our steadfast sponsors, we were able to salvage the bill with a minor compromise that left most of the bill intact.
The new law eliminated those “illegal knives” entirely, but established a new category of “location restricted” knives with a blade over 5.5 inches which cannot be carried in a few specific locations (see: www.KnifeRights.org/hb-1935-bottom-line ). Texas is another state where we had previously passed knife law preemption, so this is now the law statewide. We will be back in 2019, the next session of the Texas legislature, to work on that last remaining restriction.
New York “Déjà Vu All Over Again”
In a not entirely unexpected move, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo again vetoed Knife Rights’ Gravity Knife Law Reform Bill, once again effectively giving the finger to New York’s legislature that overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 128-1 in the Assembly and 61-1 in the Senate. Vetoed-even though this year’s bill specifically addressed Cuomo’s concerns with last year’s bill. Cuomo once again sided with embattled District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. and the disingenuous arguments made by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
While Cuomo’s veto was disappointing, the overwhelming passage of the bill did serve a useful purpose in the big picture of our strategy to address New York City’s persecution of knife owners. So, despite the veto, that still provided some positive outcome. So, now we turn back to our 6-year-old Federal civil rights lawsuit on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Oral Argument is scheduled for January 18, 2018 (Click for details).
As I write this we are already working with legislators in nearly a dozen states on legislation for next year. Our first 2018 ban repeal bill was introduced in Ohio last week. Our effort in Congress to pass the Knife Owners’ Protection Act, including repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act, is proceeding. With your continued support we will carry on forging a Sharper Future for all Americans.™
This a great time to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE contribution to the Knife Rights Foundation or donate to Knife Rights, Inc. (not tax-deductible) to help us with the fight going into next year.
Why does Knife Rights do what they do? Well, they have a story about that. It is the story of an 8-year-old boy receiving his first knife, and while the knife is a bit nicer than the Mora Eldris that each of my kids got as their first knife this year, the meaning behind the gifting of a first knife is always a special occasion.
Receiving their first knife is a significant milestone in a child’s life. It serves to pass along a tradition that goes back many millennia.Yet, today it is a tradition that is imperiled as some close-minded people in this great country would prefer it never happens. While they are happy to have knives in their kitchen as tools, somehow a pocket knife magically transforms into a weapon instead of just another useful tool that only on rare occasions is used in self-defense. As such, every time we pass along our knife-carrying tradition is an occasion to celebrate.
Now it was my turn to do the honors with Ethan, who will turn eight in early January. I won’t be able to be there for that, so he got his first knife a few weeks early. The photos above really say just about everything about the experience.
It was especially rewarding for me because Ethan and his mom just recently moved to a new state. It’s a state where a few short years ago some of the knives Ethan may grow up wanting to own and carry would have been illegal. Thanks to Knife Rights’ efforts, that is no longer the case and he can own and carry any knife he wants in his new home state.
Ethan and all the other kids growing up today, as well as those who will come along in the future, are what motivates me to fight to rid this country of irrational restrictions on knife possession and carry. This is why we do what we do.
I am honored that you follow Knife Rights’ efforts as we fight for your knife rights and against bad knife laws. Over the past eight years, we have become America’s most effective knife advocacy organization with 28 bills enacted, 6 just this year!
The march of knife freedom continues, please consider making a donation to Knife Rights today.